Posted by: Tired! | 2009/01/08

How much sleep - and when?

Dear Doc
Please help me. I am 31 years old and have a baby of almost 5 months and a toddler of two years.

My question is not only how much sleep each of us should get, but also how to co-ordinate naps so that we all sleep at more or less the same times?

Both my children attend a Montessori School from 8 -12 on weekdays during which time I work from home. Therefore I would prefer their longest daytime nap to be in the afternoon. Hopefully I can then rest too!
How long should they sleep in the day? What time would be best as not to interfere with their nightime sleep?
What time should they go to bed if they should be up by 7am, but hopefully not before 6am?

Currently they go to bed at about 21h00. My baby wakes at about 03h00 for a feed (which I read he should not actually happen) and somettimes the two year old wakes at around 02h00 and asks for a bottle.
I read in Babysense that the 5 month old should not be awake for more than 90 minutes at a time. Is this true, because that would mean that he would spend most of the day sleeping? What then about sleep during the night?

And then how much sleep should I try to get and would I benefit from an afternoon nap?

Kind regards

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageSleep Expert

At 5 months a baby spends most of his time sleeping. As children get older, the amount of sleep needed gradually decreases until they reach the adult pattern. If your 5-month old is only waking once, you need to congratulate yourself on a job well done!

9 PM is probably a bit late for most young children. I would look for a bed time closer to around 7.

For you, a 90-minute sleep in the afternoon would help you cope generally, but be aware that you will probably wake up rather dozy after that. Otherwise a 10-20 minute "powernap" will leave you more refreshed and able to cope with the next hour or so, without leaving you with a foggy feeling in the head.

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